Two charged over illegal gambling business in Georgia

Live casino sessions were broadcast from a residential building.
Live casino sessions were broadcast from a residential building.

The Ministry of Finance said the business was broadcasting live casino to websites.

Georgia.- The Investigation Service at Georgia’s Ministry of Finance has reported that two people have been charged for allegedly operating an illegal gambling business in the Adjara region, in the southwest of the country.

The service said the offenders were found to have been operating an unlicensed gambling business from a residential house, broadcasting various live casino sessions to online gambling websites based overseas. The Ministry of Finance said the operations caused a loss of around ₾100,000 ($37,740) to the state budget in terms of permit fees. It said this loss to the state budget had been “fully recovered” following the investigation, and that the charges made carry a punishment of three to five years in prison.

Georgia hikes gambling tax

In December, Georgia’s prime minister, Irakli Gharibashvili, signed off on an executive order imposing new measures for the gambling sector. They include a hike in taxes on gambling and new compliance measures for Georgia’s ban on under 25s gambling.

The tax rate on gambling profits will rise from 10 to 15 per cent. Meanwhile, a tax on player withdrawals will be raised from 2 to 5 per cent. The hikes are expected to generate an additional GEL 400m (€137m) per year for the state.

Meanwhile, from July 1, 2024, the Code of Administrative Offences will impose a series of penalties for breaches of Georgia’s minimum age limit for gambling, which has been reduced to 25. Operators could be fined GEL 10,000 (€3,500) for a first-time offence and GEL 20,000 (€7,000) for further breaches. Venues such as internet cafes, bars and shops could be fined up to GEL 30,000 (€10,000) if they allow underage gambling.

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